These are this month’s top Netflix picks from the DIFF team!
Quinten – The Hateful Eight (2015): Roadshow Release
Prior to rolling out in theaters everywhere, The Hateful Eight enjoyed a special roadshow presentation for two weeks beginning on Christmas day of 2015. “What makes the roadshow release so special?”, you ask. In addition to being projected on only a handful of 70mm projectors throughout the country (which, sadly, Netflix won’t be able to emulate), the roadshow version begins with an overture that allows the great Ennio Morricone’s Oscar-Winning score to flex its muscles even more at the beginning, a few extra scenes of footage that add some more clues involving the film’s mystery, and an intermission at a pivotal transition between two chapters in the film that allows for a much richer viewing experience.
Set somewhere in post-civil war Wyoming, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) has captured the infamous gang member, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and is transporting her to Red Rock to hang via stagecoach. However, when a brutal snowstorm hits, they’re forced to take shelter in Minnie’s Haberdashery where they’re trapped with other nefarious characters like Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), Bob the Mexican (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), and Joe Gage (Michael Madsen). When John Ruth senses that some of these people are “not who they say they are” and are trying to free Daisy, a deceitful tale of mystery unfolds that says just as much about race relations and society in the 1860s as it does about today. With nobody to rust and everybody to hate, it’s a race against the clock to see who can discover whose true intentions faster.
Olivia – Spy Kids (2001)
Here’s a shocker for you: Spy Kids holds a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. That will surprise you, but it shouldn’t. A pretty star-studded cast including George Clooney, Antonio Banderas, and Danny Trejo, combined with a talented director in Robert Rodriguez leads to an exciting and visually-pleasing film that has held up since the first time you viewed it as a child. The premise is simple: two kids discover their parents are super-spies and are recruited to rescue Mom and Dad from a deranged television host. An exciting spy thriller that no kid can fully relate too (we hope) but every kid can get behind. Relive your childhood with this classic and relish in how well it has aged.
Sam – I am Legend (2007)
The third adaption of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel of the same name, I am Legend provides an answer to the age-old question of “what would it be like to be the last man on earth?” The keyword there is “man.” Will Smith’s Robert Neville is the last living man in New York City, but he is not the only creature. An intended cure for cancer results in the death of nine-tenths of the world population, turning the deceased in creatures somewhere between vampires and zombies. Neville struggles to survive as he continues to pursue a cure of the epidemic and protect two other humans who find themselves in the ruins of New York City.
The film itself is not necessarily an artistic masterpiece but does thrive on an intense performance by Smith and a series of moral dilemmas that force you to think and place yourselves in the shoes of the characters. I am Legend is a great view for people who are not quite up for full-out horror but do enjoy some suspense.
John – The Imitation Game (2014)
The Imitation Game is a historical drama following the tale of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he attempts to break the world’s most difficult code: the German Enigma Machine of WWII. Superficially, Turing is a quirky but brilliant mathematician who has trouble working cooperatively with his colleagues, and in addition, what the others don’t know is that Turing is a homosexual, fighting to hide his sexuality to prevent being persecuted during this unprogressive time. Turing is isolated but appears to be the only one capable of cracking the code. The film was the highest-grossing independent film of 2014, and it won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. For history buffs and code breakers alike, The Imitation Game will keep you on the edge of your seats right until the end!